The theater, Oscar Wilde said, is where we go to get a sense of what it means to be human, because nothing matches the power of a live performance. Providence, for its small stature, has long packed a wallop when it comes to the breadth and depth of its performing arts scene.
The Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) was built in Providence in 1928 – a grand and beautiful architectural gem suitable to the task of hosting the world’s best performing artists. Seating 3,100, PPAC is the second-largest theater of its kind in America and offers a full roster of Broadway shows that run the gamut from traditional to neoteric, as well as concerts, comedians and special performances. Nearby, The VETS hosts a revolving array of performances as well, from the Philharmonic and ballet to comedians and family shows. Located adjacent to the RI State House, this historic theater seats 1,900 and has been recently restored and upgraded.
From “Julius Caesar” to “Barefoot in the Park” to “A Christmas Carol,” Trinity Repertory Company has fed hungry appetites for the dramatic since its founding in 1963. Featuring both local and national talent, Trinity Rep offers classics, world premieres and everything in between during each thoughtfully-crafted season. Many of its annual audience of 125,000 come to celebrate the season for the always-satisfying telling of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.” In the summertime, South County’s Theatre-By-The-Sea fills the theatrical void with comedies, musicals and dramas.
Lovers of voice will find Opera Providence suits their demand, with performances by local and national talent. “La Traviata” and “The Mikado” are recent crowd-pleasers. Alternately, lovers of the eclectic will find AS220 provides plenty of inspiration and entertainment as an un-juried and uncensored platform for artists to perform and share their work. AS220, whose mission is to give a forum to all kinds of artists, is perhaps best known for its annual outdoor “Foo Fest,” a celebration of the arts that strikes at all the senses.